With Thanksgiving approaching, some may wonder what was on the menu for the very first celebration. Here is a question from a Shape Up America! visitor about just that:
Hi Chef Joanna! I have started to follow your blog and I am very much interested in your Thanksgiving meal ideas. We always see the pictures of the first Thanksgiving meal with Indians in it. Do you have any ideas for me to serve some Native American Indian foods at our meal so I can talk to my kids about how their food was different but now we eat their foods and don’t know they came from these roots.
Yes, it’s hard to think of which fruits and vegetables are native to North America because so much is available to us! While most of what we think of at our Thanksgiving like pumpkin, apples, cranberries, and turkey, were enjoyed by the Native Americans, the three staples of American Indian cuisine were corn, beans, and squash. This trio is called the three sisters, the main agricultural crops of most tribes. The reason they grouped these foods together were because they used a technique called companion cropping, growing all three crops in the same area. The corn would grow tall, the bean vines would climb up the corn stalks, and the squash would stay low and create the nutritious mulch to keep the whole system going. I am always amazed by the Indians' relationship with the earth.
So in response to your question, I decided to call the three sisters to the kitchen. But, with a modern twist of course. I made a simple vegan cornbread, and stuffed zucchini with red bean hummus. I'm sure the Native Americans ate cornbread of some type and cooked dried beans, but not hummus-stuffed zucchini. Sometimes it’s fun to be playful. I hope you find a little more history in your Thanksgiving meal!
This recipe was adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau I highly recommend this book if you enjoy baking, vegan or not! Try the carrot cake and oatmeal cookies!
Servings: Hummus: makes 1 cup serving 12 people
*Can use frozen, pour into batter, or defrost under cool water to separate kernels and drain well.
Additional information: appropriate for Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten Free diet.
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